After seeing a recent ad for a movie about male strippers, I felt a heavy spiritual weight. Are we passing the baton well or are our kids going to be swayed by junk like that? Do they know what they believe about God and why? Are they being equipped to stand strong, and alone, if necessary?
How do we raise kids to be counter culture?
1) Make God and His Word a priority.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 gives us the clear picture of a life saturated with God. He is the constant reference point. His words are to be read, spoken, memorized, worn and displayed. There is to be no area of life that is void of God. Ken Ham and Britt Beemer provide an excellent list of life questions for kids in Already Gone. Run them by your kids to either stimulate discussion or see where they are in their Biblical understanding.
2) Nurture ongoing, honest, and safe dialogues.
Encourage kids to share their thoughts about everything. Parents can casually weave truth into their questions and responses, thus teaching and stimulating their kids to think Biblically. Teens need to be able to process information so they can choose to embrace the truth as their own. If they never question it, wrestle with it or become curious about it, it means nothing to them and will not sustain them. Even if your kids want to talk about something “inappropriate” hear them out. You be the safe place where that topic is discussed, and you be the one to guide them into Biblical thinking about it. Answers Book for Teens Volumes 1 & 2 are outstanding resources to help kids process areas of confusion. My kids like the straight forward approach in both volumes. We recently used them to discuss why the Bible is a special book and how we know the 66 books in it are the only ones from God. Another chapter prompted an important conversation about loving gay people without loving their sin. No topic is taboo. If they are thinking about it, I want to know.
3) Love God passionately above all else.
“Christianity is contagious, but children won’t catch it unless the parents are infected” (Already Gone). Kids know what their parents actually love regardless of what they say or do. They watch, they listen, and they pick up nuances. They learn to love God based on how their parents love God. Love, not obedience, is what enables a person to live resistant to the world’s destruction and charm in the long run. Kids can be forced into compliance when they are five, but not when they are 25. When faced with temptations, what they know and love about God will be what determines their choices.
I highly recommend that you invest in The Henry Morris Study Bible for your family. Especially read through the appendices together to build a foundation of unshakeable belief in God and His Word. One of my favorites is Appendix 3, “The Logic of Biblical Creation.” I have read it multiple times while making notes and formulating questions, in order to have a family devotional time dedicated to that material. My kids are also reading through it so they can bring their thoughts and questions to the discussion.
Nurturing strong kids of godly integrity takes effort (not to mention a lot of fun) but it is well worth it!
Lyn Smith served in Bible Study Fellowship International for 20 years as a Bible teacher and leadership trainer. Currently, she is an international Bible teacher, inspirational speaker, and author. She is a state speaker for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, serves on their human trafficking task force, is a contributing writer of Pastors.com, serves on the Board of Directors for LeadHer and reviews books as part of the Bible Defenders Apologetics group of New Leaf Publishing. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children. You can read Lyn’s blog at www.lynsmith.org, and connect with her on Facebook, and Twitter as @Lyn_Smith.